2 more people die from flu as cases spike across county

SAN DIEGO — Two more residents died due to flu complications last week while lab-confirmed flu cases spiked to nearly 1,400, county health officials announced Thursday.

The county’s Health and Human Services Agency received reports of a 75- year-old man dying Dec. 21 and a 77-year-old man dying Dec. 24. Both men dealt with underlying medical issues, but the county did not disclose if they had received flu shots. The two deaths bring this flu season’s death toll to 10.

The number of flu cases rose from 747 Dec. 15-21 to 1,390 last week, an increase of 643 cases. County health officials have now confirmed 3,838 cases since July 1, when tracking for this flu season began. At this time last flu season, only 1,729 flu cases had been confirmed.

“The significant jump in new cases indicates that influenza is widespread in the county, just like it is in the state and throughout most of the nation,” the county’s acting public health officer Dr. Thomas Coleman said. “Our condolences go out to the families and friends of those who died from influenza this year.”

County health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly advise the annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, especially in demographics with a heightened risk of serious complications, such as pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions like lung disease and people age 65 or older.

Residents can take precautions against contracting the virus by frequently washing their hands, cleaning commonly touched surfaces and avoiding contact with sick people.

The flu vaccine is available at local doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies and the county’s public health centers. A full list of locations offering flu shots can be found at the county’s immunization website or by calling 211 for the county’s health hotline.

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